Every Town Has An Alexander The Coppersmith Part 1
by Pastor Cary Gordon
AN OPEN LETTER TO CHRISTIANS ON THE MARKET PLACE
Over the past year, we at Cornerstone World Outreach have publicly defended the right of local Iowa businesses to refuse service to anyone or any organization that violates their conscience or acts contrary to their mission. At our behest, Liberty Institute of Texas and our friend and attorney, Hiram Sasser, Esq., offered to defend any Christian business across Iowa who found themselves bullied by the Human Rights Commission to promote or assist gay marriage against their strongly held religious convictions. We are proud of defending small businesses and their rights to refuse service for matters of religious conviction and freedom.
Along the way, we have also questioned radical homosexuals who sue local businesses after being denied services, like the small bakery owned by a husband and wife, who were sued and put out of business after politely rejecting an offer to bake the “wedding” cake for the homosexual couple. The bakery owners believe that same-sex couples marrying is a violation of natural law and in defiance to Biblical teaching that forbids the act. We have asked radical gay activists, “Why would you sue a religious person for denying you service when you know your behavior is offensive and forbidden by most religions of the world?”
We have pointed out in public articles and media interviews that it is counter-intuitive to force a bakery to bake a wedding cake against their wishes or to force a photographer who disapproves of your union to take pictures of your gay wedding if for no other reason than it is very awkward to pay a business to render services for you while knowing they don’t approve of you or your event. I have repeatedly stated that the appropriate response to being refused service would be for gay activists to take their business elsewhere and notify all their family and friends about what happened to them. If they truly believed they were in any way mistreated, they should allow the free market to work without tyrannical and un-American legal entanglements. That’s why I won’t sue a local business called “Opportunities Unlimited” to attempt to make them sell their product by force of law (or to simply punish them with legal fees) for refusing services to me and my local church as happened yesterday morning. More on that in a moment.
Of course, if a business honors Christ by refusing service as those cited above did (like the Mennonite-owned Iowa art gallery, which was asked to host a gay wedding reception, or the Christian-owned bakery in Oregon, whose owner said, "I don't want to help people honor a committment to a lifetime of sin"), then the public complaint against them is unmerited and slanderous. There are businesses, however, that dishonor Christ by refusing service for morally sinful reasons. In such situations, warning others about a legitimately bad experience with a local business is the appropriate thing for a Christian to do.
Some Christians are confused about how to apply Biblical principles to these kinds of situations, believing that they are "not being loving” if they warn others when they have been wronged in a serious way by a business enterprise. They say, “The Bible says to take no account of a suffered wrong!” They are mistaken, of course, because that particular passage taken from 1 Corinthians 13 was instructing individual persons in the discipline of remaining gracious in the face of a personal offense. They fail to reconcile that particular passage written by the Apostle Paul with his own actions as an apostle in other places of scripture. For example, the Bible teaches us by both precept and example that it is not “loving” to knowingly sit back and allow other friends, family, and neighbors to be harmed physically, emotionally, or financially by a potential situation you are capable of helping them avoid.
In some cases, a business may exist for the very purpose of earning money and using their wealth to aggressively oppose Christianity. In such a situation, it becomes even more important to expose their agenda to the buyers in a free market. In a similarly situated scenario, the Apostle Paul acted expertly in accord with genuine “agape love” when he vocally warned everyone about the antichrist intentions of Alexander the coppersmith. Alexander had acted in a way to hinder Paul's message by dismantling his reputation during a city-wide upheaval before an angry mob (recorded in Acts Chapter 19).
A completely inappropriate response of the church at that time would have been to ignore Paul’s expose' of Alexander given in 2 Timothy 4:14 by pulling Paul's own previous instructions to the Corinthian church from its context, saying, “But Paul, you said to ‘take no account of a suffered wrong!'” Thankfully, we have no record of the church of Rome, Ephesus, or Macedonia behaving against common sense in the name of “love” as some confused modern Christians might if faced by the same situation today. Those who misapply their own personal theories of “agape love”, citing the writing of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, would do well to pay close attention to how he handled a wicked Coppersmith who aggressively opposed the Gospel of the Kingdom. In 2 Timothy 4:14, Paul wrote, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works." At the very least, we can all agree that the Apostle's publication of an expose' on Alexander's evil enterprise was no invitation for everyone to support his coppersmithing business.
Along similar lines, my wife and I thought that it would be nice to support a local Sioux City business called “Opportunities Unlimited” because we knew they employed mentally handicapped people. But alas, they do not believe we are fit to purchase their coffee beans. You see, they contacted my wife, Molly, to say they were refusing service to our church because of our public stands in favor of Biblical Christianity. Specifically, they refused service to us because we stood against evils like abortion and homosexual marriage. In their own dishonest words, They “want to remain neutral" and feel my church has been too "polarizing." Molly asked, "So you won't sell me ANY coffee - even if we pull our custom label off the front?" The answer: "No. We don't want to upset our clients."
I will do exactly what sodomite activists ought to be doing when they believe they have been ill-treated, disrespected, or handled unprofessionally by a particular business; I am sharing my feedback with the public in the free market. I am letting you know that after “Opportunities Unlimited” originally agreed to sell my church custom-printed bags of coffee beans and said they would have the product ready by today, Thursday, December 5, 2013, they called one day prior to their deadline (yesterday morning) to say they would not do what they had originally agreed upon. Their actions are worse than unprofessional. They are willfully subversive to the Church of Jesus Christ. Neutrality in the dangerous culture war we all face is a stubbornly persistent myth. Like Jesus said, in Matthew 12:30: “Whoever isn't with me is against me. Whoever doesn't gather with me scatters.”
I believe in the free market and that consumers have a right to make choices about where they will spend their hard-earned dollars. That is why I am letting you know that “Opportunities Unlimited” is apparently, according to Jesus' doctrine explained in Matthew 12:30, an anti-Christian, pro-gay, pro-abortion organization that desires more than merely to "remain neutral" in a dangerous culture war; they desire to punish those who confront and oppose their own anti-Christian agenda. There simply is NO neutrality in Christianity! So long as babies are being murdered in the abortion mills, and Biblical marriage is being attacked by those who love the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, we will keep standing up every day of the week declaring the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Not just on Sunday. Everyday and everywhere!
Shame on "Opportunities Unlimited" and their brand called "Jumpy Monkey Coffee!" They should either change their behavior or change the misleading name of their company.
Keep this in mind in the future as you consider purchasing their brand called "Jumpy Monkey Coffee" at your local Fareway or Hy-Vee Store. Perhaps Fareway, a Christian-owned grocer, would be interested to know how “Opportunities Unlimited” limits the opportunities of Christians who live according to the Bible. We’ll see.
I know this very well; every town has a proverbial "Alexander the coppersmith," and we’d do well to limit his financial power as he insists on opposing the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. May God reward "Opportunities Unlimited" according to their works.
For His Kingdom,
Pastor Cary Gordon
In her publicized incidiary statement to the press, CEO Stephanie Brown wrote, “As to the promotional sale of coffee beans, Opportunities Unlimited has never marketed customized labels for any church affiliated organization and the Cornerstone Church was treated no differently than any other group.”
Then a few obvious questions should be answered with a respectful tone:
1) Why the distracting statement about "custom labels" when your company explicitly stated they would not sell coffee to the church with or without labels?
2) Why didn't your company inform of this policy a week earlier during the initial order?
3) Why did your company propose custom labels to us when we did not know you even offered such a service during our initial order? It was your idea.
4) Why did your company contact us at the last minute to say you would not sell us any coffee under any circumstances, citing that our church has been "too polarizing" as your primary reason for refusal of service?
More evidnce of bad behavior becomes very clear to any reasonable person upon perusing the following: Here is a link that describes many churches and Christian schools using Jumpy Monkey, and that the idea “came from Jim Bride, one of the founders of Jumpy Monkey and a member of the Catholic Schools Foundation Board. He suggested the fundraiser in an effort to help Catholic schools and Opportunities Unlimited (OU). http://www.catholicglobe.org/Michelle12.8.11b.html
How about this relationship that is allegedly “against" their policy”? http://www.remsenstmarys.org/waystogive.cfm?subpage=1430980
How about this relationship with the Bishop’s photo in the top-left corner? http://www.scdiocese.org/ways.cfm?subpage=1449930
How about the official Jumpy Monkey .pdf brochure where it explicitly states that “Coffee is sent to military bases and local churches.” http://www.opportunitiesunlimited.com/images/newsletters/OU_Spring_13.pdf
WIthin only a few hours of Opportunities Unlimited's public statement falsely accusing Pastor Cary of attacks of "libel" and threatening to sue the same church they had already terribly mistreated, the following message came from a PURCHASER of Jumpy Monkey Coffee used for the EXPLICIT PURPOSE of hosting multiple fundraisers at Morningside Assemblies of God church in our city:
"I just read journal article. I do not always agree with your views but you do have the right to express them. I want to tell you as an ex member of Morningside Assembly and new member of Sunnybrook, MAG sold Monkey Jumpy to raise money for youth mission trips and retreats etc. We also gave it away for special days like father's day gifts. I know this because I bought it and [my husband] was on missions committe for 15 yrs.”
The claim was immediately proven with a facebook screenshot taken of the advertised fundraiser that took place November 30th at 8:36pm on behalf of that church's "3G Student Ministries" stating:
"Tomorrow continues our 3G youth ministry fundraiser in the main lobby at [Morningside Assembly of God] MAG. The students are selling gourmet Jolly Time pop corn and Jumpy Monkey Coffee! They make great Christmas gifts! Thanks for the support!
As it so happens, the poor leadership of Opportunities Unlimited continues to make very bad decisions by cavelierly slandering and maligning the integrity of Pastor Cary and Molly Gordon's testimony as mistreated customers. What they should have done was apologize and launch an internal investigation while assuring the public they meant no insult, but instead, they actually made Pastor Cary's case for him, reassuring the public they are willing to discriminate on the basis of religious "polarity" [defending Christian values = "polarity"], and they are also willing to sue the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ when challenged for their bad choices.
The CEO of Opportunities Unlimited has now made what appears to be untrue public statements about uniformly discriminating against all churches equally. Yes, you read that right. The best defense the CEO could conjur was to publicly argue that they uniformly discriminate againt all churches equally. Read it by clicking here.
As Pastor Cary Gordon has said from the beginning in this blog, he does not intend to sue the company for their actions. The church does not want to go to court. But our attorneys don't think things are looking very good for Opportunites Unlimited if the church is forced to defend itself in a frivolous lawsuit brought by the offenders. We wouldn't recommend that approach.